John Molina Jr.’s words are as direct and to-the-point as one of his punches.
“Do you know how many times I should have said, ‘OK, I’m done. Let me pack it up?’” the hard-hitting 140-pounder asks following a long day of training for his Premier Boxing Champions fight Saturday night against Adrien Broner.
Molina doesn’t wait for an answer—the question he’s posed is a rhetorical one—because he’s made his name by not packing it up even when it might have seemed advisable for him to do so.
“The key to my career is discouragement,” he explains. “If you can get past discouragement—with anything in life—you can make it.”
Case in point: When Molina got his first title shot against former 135-pound champ Antonio DeMarco in September 2012, he ate a thundering right hand early in Round 1 and ended up getting knocked out 40 seconds into the fight.
“I was supposed to curl up and disappear after that,” Molina says. “But I knew that I was better than that. That was a fluke.”
Three fights later, Molina would demonstrate his mettle with a come-from-behind victory over then-undefeated prospect Mickey Bey, knocking him out with less than a minute left in a fight that Molina was losing on the judges’ scorecards at the time.
“I’ve gotten fan mail from all over the world saying that when I came back and knocked the guy out with 58 seconds left, that inspired them to get through a hard work week,” Molina says. “To me, that’s huge. It means a lot to me.”
Since then, Molina was in the 2014 fight of the year against Lucas Matthysee. With Broner now in his sights, Molina is eyeing the sky.
“With a victory on March 7, and a knockout victory at that,” Molina predicts, “it will catapult me to the stratosphere of the game.”